Sunday, September 30th 2012
Big Red Coq
We have a confession to make: we’ve been drinking this beer for several months now - grabbing one from the fridge whenever our palates were hollering for a super hoppy red ale. Apparently we were so busy enjoying it that we never got around to writing up a formal review for the CraftCans Nation. We’re sorry, and any allegation that we followed the suggestion on the side of the can – “If you really like it, don’t tell your friends about it and just buy it all yourself” – is strenuously denied. At least that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.
From the Brewery Vivant site:
"We make four batches of this beer each year, once a quarter. When it is gone, it is gone. What started as a test batch specialty beer at our pub has grown into one of our most sought after beers. Plus there is so much fun to be had with the name. Coq means rooster in French.
Citrus with mango & pineapple notes give way to a big malty character. Made with our house Belgian yeast to give it that Vivant-ness you would expect.
Our staff's favorite beer"
Here we go...
Pour – dark copper with a thick, fluffy tan head that didn’t want to go away.
Aroma – Malted grains with a wisp of floral hops. Imagine eating a bowl of Grape Nuts on a cool morning in a flower garden. Yeah, it’s like that.
Taste – A big blast of bitter hops jumps out right away and shocks the palate into giving its’ undivided attention to the beer in front of you. Seems pretty clear that a whole bunch of hops went into the kettle early in the boil. The red comes out in the round, malty middle and calms everything down for just a second or two before the spicy Vivant yeast gives the taste buds a final tickle on its way down the hatch.
Overall – As lovers of all beer styles but hopheads at the core, we really liked this beer primarily for the big and bitter hop presence. However, we also really enjoyed the unique experience of three bright and distinct flavors with each sip that messed with our minds a little bit. We like a flavorful challenge now and then.
Notes: What might be Brewery Vivant’s most popular limited release is set for its next quarterly release on 10.1.12. Michiganders and Chicagoans would be well advised to put in a request for Big Red Coq with their favorite beer sellers now!
Posted by Trent
More from this: State (18) | Country (339) | Brewery (9) | Style (24)
Saturday, September 29th 2012
Maui Brewing and Dogfish Head Collaboration Cans Coming Soon
LAHAINA, MAUI, HI - 29 September 2012 - Maui Brewing Co. (MBC) is very proud to announce the upcoming release of their first collaboration with Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (DFH) of Milton, Delaware. Liquid Breadfruit is an Imperial Golden Ale brewed with 'ulu (local Maui breadfruit) and toasted papaya seeds. This unique beer also utilizes "DNA" (Delaware Native Ale), a special yeast, captured outside a peach farm in Delaware. Liquid Breadfruit marks the third in the quarterly limited releases announced by MBC earlier this year. Earlier releases have been La Perouse White (Spring 2012) and Sobrehumano Palena'ole (Summer 2012). Liquid Breadfruit will be released in October.
Craft brewing wunderkinds Garrett Marrero (MBC) and Sam Calagione (DFH) had talked about a collaboration brew. After reading an invitation from Garrett to her dad, Sam's young daughter, Grier, just couldn't hold back her excitement at the possibility of traveling to Hawaii. So, in part, thanks to a little girl's inquisitiveness and ensuing persistence, plans for the collaboration really started to come together. So, how was the idea for a breadfruit beer born? Sam recalls, "One day I saw an article in a newspaper about breadfruit and it sounded enticing. We had isolated a yeast native to Delaware that has a lot of tropical notes ... I said 'DANG' to myself and shot Garrett an email asking him what he thought about breadfruit." The response was extremely positive and, together, the brewers at DFH and MBC started developing the recipe. This collaborative effort pulled in many ideas - including the use of toasted papaya seeds, Calypso hops and adding additional bread-inspired grains in the beer. And, the name, seemed simple enough to Sam - he says, "I thought it would be cool to call the beer LIQUID BREADFRUIT - since beer has been called 'liquid bread' for centuries."
The Breadfruit Institute of Hana, Maui, Hawaii is an organization that promotes the conservation and use of breadfruit for food and reforestation. Garrett and Sam spoke with Ian Cole and Diane Ragone to learn more about this very important, staple crop of Polynesian cultures. The fruit and seeds of all species of breadfruit are edible and nutritious, providing protein and minerals, and the tree can also provide materials for construction, medicine, fabric, glue, insect repellent, animal feed and more. While this "tree of bread" has the potential to play a large role in alleviating hunger in many parts of the world, it intrigued this duo to do what they do best - to push the boundaries of craft beer! Approximately 2500 lbs. of breadfruit was harvested for the Liquid Breadfruit Project; and 10.5 lbs. of papaya seeds painstakingly harvested by staff and local farmers markets.
Approximately 400 barrels will be produced out of which 4300 cases will be canned and the difference to be available in draft. All market areas where MBC is distributed will receive product but specific allocations will be based on sales. "The only downside to this project is that we had originally scheduled LB for a September release but due to a late breadfruit harvest, this schedule has been pushed back to October," tells us Garrett Marrero. "But all good things take time. Sam and I enjoyed working together on this project and we look forward to being able to share it with our fellow craft beer lovers. The pub batch brewed as a test in April was a HUGE hit at our annual Maui Brewer's Festival." Fans will be sure to enjoy the whimsical and brightly colored graphics on the packaging as well as what is in the can. When Sam sampled the first batch, he said, "it tasted like what it feels like to be on Maui...like nature magnified: tropical and refreshing and lovely."
Maui Brewing Co. is a truly Hawaiian brewery, and proud to make 100% of their beer, canned and draft, in Hawaii. Recognized as Hawaii's #1 craft beer since 2005, the company has a strong commitment to the local economy and the environment. MBC beers are packaged with the most eco-friendly materials. Cans are manufactured on Oahu and designed by local Maui artists. They have the added bonus of better protecting the beer from both light and oxygen damage which can compromise the taste. Plastic rings are dangerous to marine life and therefore, a unique, recyclable plastic carrying device is used to hold the cans. The spent grain from beer production is donated to local ranchers for cattle feed and composting. MBC is also very active in several local Hawaiian charities. Founder Garrett Marrero and his wife, Melanie, operate a 7-barrel brewpub at the Kahana location as well as a 25-barrel production brewery and canning facility in Lahaina. Maui Brewing Co. is a truly local beer as 100% of their products are made in Hawaii. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for interviews, additional information, or media questions.
Posted by Russ
Labels: Press Releases
Friday, September 21 2012
Autumnal Mole Stout
(Ska Brewing Company)
The first of four Seasonal Stouts to be released by Ska Brewing Company. Each will be unique and each will be released on either a solstice or an equinox depending on the season. Autumnal Mole Stout is set to hit shelves on September 21st - the Autumnal Equinox. Ska really is setting the tone for this series with a bold brew like this one. Can't wait to crack this open and find out how all those spices and chiles come together in this stout. Cheers!
From Ska Brewing:
"The Autumnal Mole Stout is an ale brewed with cocoa nibs, spices and three varieties of chile peppers: Mulato, Ancho and Hatch green chiles, (also known as Anaheim Peppers.)"
Here we go...
Pour - Pours dark brown to black in color with a rich, creamy, off-white head on top.
Aroma - Very aromatic. Wow. Where to begin. Loads of cinnamon and Mexican chocolate notes with hints of vanilla, nutmeg, bacon, and espresso. Definitely has some similar smells to a mole sauce made with cocoa and spices. It really smells amazing.
Taste - One sip and the tongue is alive and trying to process just all the excitement. So much flavor and so many different things to try and sort out and enjoy. Loads of spices hit first, a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg and some sweet heat in the finish. Plenty of espresso and smoky notes come out. Definitely getting some cocoa flavors and just a plethora of different spices. Rich and smooth on the palate with the heat from the chiles steadily increasing - but still fairly subdued. So much going on with this beer and it only gets better as it warms in the glass.
Overall - fantastic. It can't be easy to do so much with a beer and get such a well-rounded, unique, complex, yet very balanced beer. Love the slight heat from the chiles, the sweetness of the cocoa and the malt, and the way the spices seem to bring it altogether. I could condense this down and pour it on a pork shoulder and be all set!
Note - here is a little more on this very special brew from the folks at Ska:
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (61) | Country (339) | Brewery (6) | Style (2)
Friday, September 21 2012
Seasonal Beer Guide: Autumn 2012
Tomorrow marks the first day of autumn and cooler days and earlier nights have already begun to sneak into our lives as we prepare to welcome a new season. This is the time of year that hops are harvested, and football begins, it also brings leaf peepers, Halloween and Thanksgiving. It is for many, the best time of year. When it comes to beer we've already begun to see the shelves stocked with Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales as well as a few wet-hopped brews. This fall we welcome some exciting new additions to autumn's canned craft beer lineup and we also see the return of many familiar faces. There are now seven different Oktoberfests, five different Pumpkin Ales, and several other fall seasonals being canned by craft brewers - plenty of options no matter where you live! So grab your liederhosen, some pumpkin carving tools, a turkey leg, and a rake and prepare to enjoy your fall with these seasonal brews. Cheers & Prosit!
Let's begin with Pumpkin Ales as we've got a few new ones this year. This is a style that is incredibly popular and is slated in the early history of this country. Pumpkin provided a cheap and plentiful sugar for fermentation in the colonial era. Today's brewers produce a plethora of different versions of this style - from sweet and tasting like pumpkin pie to earthy and subtle to barrel-aged Imperial Pumpkin Ales that push double-digit alcohol levels.
Upslope Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale won gold at last year's Great American Beer Festival. This year they've decided to can it and can it big! It marks the first time the Boulder brewery has packaged in 16 oz. pint cans and marks a new series of seasonal limited release beers.
Another new canned Pumpkin Ale is Wachusett Brewing's appropriately named "Pumpkan". The brewery had been bottling an Imperial Pumpkin Ale the past few years and this is the marks the first time they've packaged a non-Imperial version.
Pumpkan has a great flavor profile, it's not too sweet with some nice spiciness and a great pumpkin flavor that isn't overwhelming but is subtle and in the background. This is one that we'll look forward to each autumn. Did we mention that its a pretty awesome looking can design?
Pumpkinhead has been a big seller for Shipyard for years. This year it makes its debut in cans joining the likes of their flagship brew, Shipyard Export. Pumpkinhead is a subtly spiced Pumpkin Ale brewed with wheat that is fairly light on the palate. A nice brew for some of those warmer autumn days and nights.
Wild Onion was the first craft brewery in America to can a Pumpkin Ale. It was first released during the autumn of 2010. The artwork will catch your eye that is for sure. The design was done by Tim Hooker, who has also done the other can designs for WIld Onion - including Hop Slayer Double IPA which is one of our favorites. Earthy, sweet, and tangy with some subtle spices and a very smooth finish. As it warms the flavors are enhanced. Once of the more widely available canned Pumpkin Ales and definitely worth a try if you are a fan of the style.
The folks at Sixpoint aren't afraid to bend styles and do their own thing. Nothing showcases that better than perhaps their Autumnation. A wet-hopped Pumpkin Ale brewed with fresh Citra hops! This has a ton of flavors to pick up and is definitely an adventure for the palate
Just in case you find yourself north of the border this autumn! Central City Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale was actually the first ever to be canned. They started canning it back in 2008. Perhaps you're familiar with their Red Racer IPA? Now called Red Betty IPA, it was a huge hoppy hit when it first showed up on shelves in the US.
From Central City:
Oktoberfest officially starts in Munich tomorrow, the first day of fall. The world will descend upon not only upon the original festival in Germany, but also upon countless other celebrations worldwide. Copious amounts of this darker, sweeter, stronger lager will be consumed - along with plenty of pretzels, bratwursts, and schnitzel. Fill that litre-sized mug with one of these canned versions. Cheers!
Revolution Brewing is brewing and canning in a new facility in Chicago and have recently released their Anti-Hero IPA and should be releasing cans of their Oktoberfest Revolution any day now.
From Revolution Brewing:
First canned in 2010, Santa Fe's Oktoberfest was part of the first wave of the style to be available in cans. Crisp and quite refreshing on the palate with a sweet maltiness that you can expect from this style and nicely balanced by a dry finish. We love this beer and have always been big fans of the can design. Flip this one around and you'll find a pretzel where the hat is. The can reads, "Beer, Sausage, Polka, Repeat" - awesome
SLY FOX OKTOBERFEST LAGER
Another member of the canning class of 2010. Sly Fox Brewing Company celebrates the arrival of fall with their Oktoberfest Lager, crisp, malty treat that is easy to drink without wearing out the tongue. If you're in the neighborhood swing by their Annual Kan Jam Festival taking place tomorrow at their new brewery in Pottstown. It's FREE to get in with live music and plenty of beer.
From Sly Fox:
Each year Great River Brewery celebrates Oktoberfest by having their own party at the brewery with live music, food and drink. Last year marks the first time the brewery released their Oktoberfest in cans. A brew with big malt flavors like brown bread, brown sugar, molasses adn dark caramel. This is one for the malt heads out there for sure. Drinks bigger than it is with full-bodied flavor.
From Great River Brewery:
5.5% ABV | 22 IBUs
Narragansett's Fest Lager is back in cans for the third year. Like the others, this is a crip, refreshing lager with some sweet, caramel notes and a finish that will have you reaching for another can. Good thing these pint cans comin in packs of six and at a very reasonable price!
Stevens Point Brewing Company introduced cans of their Oktoberfest for the first time last year. Great looking can design by the way. This is another highly drinkable Oktoberfest that is easygoing and unobtrusive, and for us this was great while very cold. We reached the bottom of our first – and second – glass in no time. Some Marzens are much sweeter and closer to a red or a big bodied amber. Point’s offering is the kind of ‘Fest we could drink large quantities of and maybe impress a few Bavarian barmaids with our drinking prowess.
Sun King Brewing invested in a new can design for this year's release of their Oktoberfest. Last year they filled their multi-style can and simply affixed a sticker denoting that it was their Oktoberfest. The new can has just hit shelves and we've got to say it looks great - and is filled with an excellent version of the style.
From Sun King:
Great Crescent has released their Oktoberfest Lager for the first time in cans this year. Thankfully for them, putting any of their beers in cans is relatively easy as it only involves adhering a sticker denoting the style/brand to their customized cans.
From Great Crescent:
6% ABV | 34 IBUs
Surly Brewing's SurlyFest will be pouring at their annual festival of the same name being held tomorrow (September 22nd) at the brewery. This is brew that defintiely departs a bit from the norm when it comes to the style but is no less appealing to the senses. Malty and sweet with flavors of honey and caramel with a dry, spicy finsih from the rye in the grain bill. Solid. We could certainly hoist a few of these tomorrow, if only we were closer to the brewery.
7.5% ABV | 90 IBUs
Surly Brewing's WET was the first ever wet-hopped IPA to be canned. This is 16 oz. of devotion to the almighty hop. WET packs a massive amount of aroma and flavor and is a great example of how cans to a great job helping a beer to retain all that precious hop goodness. Resiny, piney, citrusy and altogether fantastic. Cans of Surly's WET are due out in October. Keep an eye out...
AUTUMNAL MOLE STOUT
Ska Brewing is releasing their Autumnal Molé Stout today, the Autumnal Equinox. It marks the first of four seasonal stouts that the brewery will be canning. One sip of this beer and the tongue is alive and trying to process just all the excitement. So much flavor and so many different things to try and sort out and enjoy. Loads of spices hit first, a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg and some sweet heat in the finish. Plenty of espresso and smoky notes come out. Definitely getting some cocoa flavors and just a plethora of different spices. Rich and smooth on the palate with the heat from the chiles steadily increasing - but still fairly subdued. So much going on with this beer and it only gets better as it warms in the glass.
HAYRIDE AUTUMN ALE
Baxter Brewing recently released their first autumn seasonal. The Maine brewer went all out creating an exciting, unique and altogether different ode to the season. Hayride offers the senses their own ride by providing flavors of orange and citrus, tropical notes, vanilla, savory pepper and hints of ginger. This is a great beer to sip and enjoy on a cool fall evening.
CHEERS! EIN PROSIT! CHEERS! EIN PROSIT! CHEERS!
Labels: Fall Seasonals
Wednesday, September 19th 2012
West Sixth IPA
(West Sixth Brewing Company)
Yes, this is the ONE and ONLY canned craft beer in the state of Kentucky. West Sixth Brewing Company, named for their location on West Sixth Street in Lexington, began canning these beauties earlier this year. This four man crew is carving out a craft beer following in Central Kentucky and with 7 brews on tap at the brewery we're hoping to see a few more in cans in the near future.
Here we go...
Pour - bright golden, clean with a great looking tight, white head that leaves loads of lacing in the top of the glass and is not too quick to dissipate.
Aroma - great big whiffs of pineapple and citrus, some sweet maltiness and plenty of floral hops. Great smelling IPA with plenty of tropical fruit aromas. Definitely makes you want to dive right in!
Taste - a large wave of those tropical fruit flavors hits the palate first, pineapple and mango as well as citrus flavors of lemon, orange and grapefruit. It's sweet on the tongue but that is quickly matched by an onset of hop bitterness that gives the tongue the lashing you've been waiting for.
Overall - Full bodied and balanced. Definitely not a one-sided, astringent IPA. This has a ton of flavor and drinks bigger than it is. Very well put together and certainly an IPA that we'd love to have in the cooler or the fridge all year round. This may be the only can of craft beer produced in the Bluegrass State but its certainly no slouch. A great debut brew from West Sixth. Cheers!
Note - West Sixth Brewing Company announced recently that they have plans to double their output so keep an eye on these guys. Currently,they only distribute in the immediate Lexington area and around Central Kentucky. By the way, West Sixth IPA is currently sitting on an average score of 95 over at Ratebeer. A pretty impressive score for a debut brew from these guys. Did we mention we also love the design of these cans?
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (2) | Country (339) | Brewery (1) | Style (52)
Labels: American IPAs
Saturday, September 15th 2012
Hayride Autumn Ale
(Baxter Brewing Company)
Baxter's ode to the cooler days ahead is something other than an Oktoberfest or a Pumpkin Ale, it's something altogether unique. Bringing together some unlikely ingredients into a beer brewed with rye they crafted something complex and delicious. Cheers!
From the Baxter Brewing site:
"As days get shorter and sleeves get longer, Baxter Brewing releases its fall seasonal, Hayride Autumn Ale. A generous portion of two rye malts give the beer a full body, bready flavor, and subtle spiciness; while toasted malts provide a touch of sweetness and a rich, almost reddish hue. New Zealand Pacifica and Pacific Jade hops balance Hayride’s maltiness and suggest notes of oranges and tropical fruit. Finally, we cold-condition the beer on oak, with light additions of ginger, black pepper, and orange peel, bringing out the spiciness of the rye and rounding out the soft sweetness of the beer. Hayride will give a touch of warmth for those cool fall nights, while remaining deliciously drinkable."
Here we go...
Pour - dark amber in appearnce with a big fluffy off-white head that sticks to the inside of the glass almost like batter.
Aroma - burnt sugar, vanilla, orange liqueur and various spices. Interesting and intrigueing.
Taste - Wow, very unique flavor profile. It's almost hard to describe the first sip. Malty, a bit like a brown ale but it quickly becomes more complex. There are some hints of orange and very subtle amounts of the ginger are present. The wood definitely helps to give this a silky soft mouthful as well as bit of vanilla flavor. The finish is spicy and dry from both the pepper and the rye. It has an almost savory finish about it...in a good way.
Overall - So many layers of flavor with Hayride and definitley a beer worthy of the cooler days ahead. I really enjoyed the complexity of this beer as well as the fact that it wasnt too boost. I'm also a sucker for beers brewed with pepper - a spice at does wonders for beer when used in the right amount. This has great pepper flavor in the finish. Well done Baxter! This is a truly unique and special beer.
Note - Baxter Brewing Company is located in Lewiston, Maine. The brewery is just over a year old and has released six different canned offerings, two of which have been seasonals. Currently, you can find their beers distributed in Maine and Massachusetts.
Posted by Russ
More from this: State (6) | Country (339) | Brewery (5) | Style (4)
Labels: Rye Beers